This is a slim, but charming book. Alice is comfortable in the background, and she's really pretty happy with her life, she lives in Seattle (which she loves!), has great parents, and has her best friend, Jewel (a boy), who she can talk to about anything, and she has Dove Girl, her Picasso print. But she really wants a boyfriend, just someone to hold hands with and go to the school dance. Then Simon Murphy, a cute and popular boy begins to show some interest in her, and Jewel really doesn't like it. One day, she and Jewel are hanging out together as friends and Jewel kisses her. Soon after, Simon asks Alice to the Halloween Dance and she accepts. She was supposed to be going with Jewel, but they're just friends so she thinks he won't mind. He does and they have a big fight. Her relationship with Simon seems to be working out, but she really misses her old friend.
Some descriptions of this book make it sound like Alice tries on a "magical dress", but that's not really how to story goes. There IS a dress, but both Jewel and Simon were showing interest before the dress. I liked this book quite a bit, I wish there was more of it! The sense of place is fantastic, and I enjoyed Alice. She's a girl who has no clue how special she is, and I liked her "outsider, but happy with it" status. I also enjoyed the underlying ideas about when boys are friends and when they're something more.